English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 5 Indigo Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context
|Urge the departure||Ask or insist to go|
|Harbour a man like me||Give shelter to a person like me|
|Conflict of duties||Duties opposite to each other|
|Seek a prop||Request or ask a support|
When I first visited Gandhi in 1942 at his ashram in Sevagram, in central India, he said, “I will tell you how it happened that I decided to urge the departure of the British. It was in 1917.”
|How it happened||The reason, The background|
|Urge the departure||Ask or insist to go|
The author had first gone to meet Gandhiji in 1942. He met him at Sevagram which is located in central India. Gandhiji had told that he would explain to author how he had come to the conclusion to ask British to go from India. It had happened in 1917.
He had gone to the December 1916 annual convention of the Indian National Congress party in Lucknow. There were 2,301 delegates and many visitors.
|Convention||Meeting of large number of people|
Gandhiji had gone to Lucknow in December 1916. It was to attend the yearly meeting of Indian National Congress party. 2301 representative of congress and many visitors had come there.
During the proceedings, Gandhi recounted, “a peasant came up to me looking like any other peasant in India, poor and emaciated, and said, ‘I am Rajkumar Shukla. I am from Champaran, and I want you to come to my district’!’’
|Emaciated||Weak and thin (due to lack of food)|
Gandhiji recalled that while meeting was going on, a farmer came to him. He was looking like any other farmer of India – poor and thin. The farmer told his name – Rajkumar Shukla to Gandhiji. He requested Gandhiji to come to his district – Champaran
Gandhi had never heard of the place. It was in the foothills of the towering Himalayas, near the kingdom of Nepal.
|Foothills||Base of a mountain|
Gandhiji was hearing name of that place for the first time. Champaran is at the base of a very high mountain Himalayas. It is near Nepal.
Under an ancient arrangement, the Champaran peasants were sharecroppers. Rajkumar Shukla was one of them. He was illiterate but resolute.
|Sharecropper||A farmer who shares the crop|
Farmers of Champaran had to share crop of their field with owners of the field. This was an old arrangement. Rajkumar Shukla was also a sharecropper. He was illiterate but a determined person.
He had come to the Congress session to complain about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar, and somebody had probably said, “Speak to Gandhi.”
Rajkumar wanted to complain that owners of land were doing injustice to farmers. He had come to the meeting for this reason. Probably somebody had advised him to talk to Gandhiji.
Gandhi told Shukla he had an appointment in Cawnpore and was also committed to go to other parts of India. Shukla accompanied him everywhere.
Gandhiji told Shukla that he had an appointment to go to Cawnpore. (This is the old spelling of Kanpur). Gandhiji had already agreed to visit other places in India also. Shukla went with Gandhiji to each place.
Then Gandhi returned to his ashram near Ahmedabad. Shukla followed him to the ashram. For weeks he never left Gandhi’s side. “Fix a date,” he begged.
After all his visits, Gandhiji came back to his ashram. His ashram was near Ahmedabad. Shukla also came to ashram. He was with Gandhji for many weeks. He requested Gandhiji to fix a date to visit Champaran.
Impressed by the sharecropper’s tenacity and story Gandhi said, ‘‘I have to be in Calcutta on such-and-such a date. Come and meet me and take me from there.”
|Such and such date||On a particular date|
Gandhiji was impressed by the story and determination of Shukla. He said to Shukla that he would be in Calcutta on a particular date. He asked Shukla to meet him there and take him to Champaran from Calcutta.
Months passed. Shukla was sitting on his haunches at the appointed spot in Calcutta when Gandhi arrived; he waited till Gandhi was free.
|To sit on haunches||To sit on the ground|
|Appointed place||Agreed place|
After many months Gandhji came to Calcutta. Shukla was sitting on the ground at the agreed place to wait for Gandhiji. He waited till Gandhiji was free.
Then the two of them boarded a train for the city of Patna in Bihar. There Shukla led him to the house of a lawyer named Rajendra Prasad who later became President of the Congress party and of India.
|Boarded the train||Got into the train|
|Led him||Took him|
Gandhiji and Shukla got into a train. They reached Patna – a city in Bihar. In Patna Shukla took Gandhiji to the house of a lawyer. Name of lawyer was Rajendra Prasad. He later became president of Congress party. After independence he became first president of India.
Rajendra Prasad was out of town, but the servants knew Shukla as a poor yeoman who pestered their master to help the indigo sharecroppers. So they let him stay on the grounds with his companion, Gandhi, whom they took to be another peasant.
|Yoeman||A small farmer|
|Pester||To request or bother repeatedly,|
Rajendra Prasad was not in the town. His servants knew that Shukla was a small farmer. They also knew that Shukla used to repeatedly request their master to help indigo sharecroppers. So they allowed him and Gandhiji to stay on the ground. (Means they did not give them a cot or a bed) They assumed that Gandhiji was also a farmer.
But Gandhi was not permitted to draw water from the well lest some drops from his bucket pollute the entire source; how did they know that he was not an untouchable?
But servants did not allow Gandhiji to draw water from the well. They thought that Gandhiji could be an untouchable person. They did not want to pollute all the water of the well. They did not know that Gandhiji was not an untouchable.
Gandhi decided to go first to Muzzafarpur, which was enroute to Champaran, to obtain more complete information about conditions than Shukla was capable of imparting.
|Enroute||On the way|
Gandhiji wanted to get complete information about sharecropping. He thought that Shukla was not capable to give him complete information. So Gandhiji decided to first go to Muzzafarpur town. This town was on the way to Champaran.
He accordingly sent a telegram to Professor J.B. Kripalani, of the Arts College in Muzzafarpur, whom he had seen at Tagore’s Shantiniketan school.
|Seen at||Met at|
So Gandhiji sent a telegram to Professor J.B. Kriplani. He was a professor at the Arts College in Muzzafarpur. Gandhiji had met him at Shantiniketan School. This school was being run by Rabindra Nath Tagore.
The train arrived at midnight, 15 April 1917. Kripalani was waiting at the station with a large body of students. Gandhi stayed there for two days in the home of Professor Malkani, a teacher in a government school.
The train reached Muzzafarpur at the midnight of 15th April 1917. Prof. Kriplani was waiting at the station for Gandhiji. A large number of students were also present. At Muzzafarpur, Gandhiji stayed at the house of Prof. Malkani for two days. He was a teacher in a government school.
‘‘It was an extraordinary thing in those days,’’ Gandhi commented, “for a government professor to harbour a man like me”. In smaller localities, the Indians were afraid to show sympathy for advocates of home-rule.
|Harbour a man like me||Give shelter to a person like me|
|Smaller localities||Smaller towns|
Gandhiji said that during those days, government professors were not giving shelter to people like him. So it was an extraordinary thing. In smaller towns, Indians were afraid to show sympathy to supporters of home-rule movement.
The news of Gandhi’s advent and of the nature of his mission spread quickly through Muzzafarpur and to Champaran. Sharecroppers from Champaran began arriving on foot and by conveyance to see their champion.
|By conveyances||By vehicles|
The news of arrival of Gandhiji and his goal spread in whole Muzzafarpur. This news also reached Champaran. Many sharecroppers started coming on foot and in vehicles to meet their leader – Gandhiji.
Muzzafarpur lawyers called on Gandhi to brief him; they frequently represented peasant groups in court; they told him about their cases and reported the size of their fee.
|Brief him||To explain to him|
Lawyers of Muzzafarpur met Gandhiji. They explained to him that they were frequently fighting court cases for peasants. They also told him about their cases and the fees they were taking from peasants.
Gandhi chided the lawyers for collecting big fee from the sharecroppers. He said, ‘‘I have come to the conclusion that we should stop going to law courts. Taking such cases to the courts does little good.
|Chided||Lectured, Scolded mildly|
Gandhiji mildly scolded lawyers for charging huge fees from sharecroppers. He told them that he had come to a conclusion. We should not go to courts of law. Because taking this type of cases to court does not do anything good.
Where the peasants are so crushed and fear-stricken, law courts are useless. The real relief for them is to be free from fear.’’
|Fear stricken||Frightened, Afraid of|
Here farmers are exploited. They are frightened. Hence law courts are not useful. The real solution is to make them free of fear.
Most of the arable land in the Champaran district was divided into large estates owned by Englishmen and worked by Indian tenants. The chief commercial crop was indigo.
|Arable||Suitable for agriculture, Cultivable|
|Large estate||Big property, Large area|
|Tenant||Person who pays rent for using a property|
|Commercial||That can be sold|
In Champaran, most the land suitable for agriculture was divided into large area or large property. Englishman were owners of the land. Indians were working as tenants. The main crop grown and sold was Indigo.
The landlords compelled all tenants to plant three twentieths or 15 per cent of their holdings with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent. This was done by long-term contract.
|Landlords||Owners of land|
Owners of the land forced tenants to grow indigo on 15 percent of their land. This crop was taken by landlords as the rent. There was long term contract for this arrangement.
Presently, the landlords learned that Germany had developed synthetic indigo. They, thereupon, obtained agreements from the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from the 15 per cent arrangement.
|Compensation||Money paid to reduce loss|
|For being released||For freeing|
Recently landlords came to know that artificial indigo had been developed in Germany. So demand of natural indigo had reduced. The crop was not needed. After this, landlords wanted to free the sharecroppers of the 15 percent agreement. But they wanted some money from sharecropper to cancel the agreement.
The sharecropping arrangement was irksome to the peasants, and many signed willingly. Those who resisted, engaged lawyers; the landlords hired thugs.
For every peasant, the sharecropping arrangement was irritating and troublesome. So many peasants signed to cancel the agreement. They paid compensation to landlords. Some peasants opposed paying compensations. So they engaged lawyers to fight cases in court. The landlords hired goons to threaten such peasants.
Meanwhile, the information about synthetic indigo reached the illiterate peasants who had signed, and they wanted their money back. At this point Gandhi arrived in Champaran.
|Meantime||During same time, Meanwhile|
|At this point||At this situation|
During the same time, uneducated farmers also came to know about artificial indigo. But they had already signed new agreement and paid compensation to landlords. Now they wanted landlords to return their money. In this situation Gandhiji arrived at Champaran.
He began by trying to get the facts. First he visited the secretary of the British landlord’s association. The secretary told him that they could give no information to an outsider. Gandhi answered that he was no outsider.
Gandhiji started his work by trying to obtain truth. First he met secretary of British landlord’s association. The secretary refused to give any information. He told Gandhiji that he was an outsider. Gandhiji replied that he was not an outsider. Gandhiji did not get any information from him.
Next, Gandhi called on the British official commissioner of the Tirhut division in which the Champaran district lay. ‘‘The commissioner,’’ Gandhi reports, ‘‘proceeded to bully me and advised me forthwith to leave Tirhut.’’
|Bully||To scold, To threaten|
After that Gandhiji met commissioner of Tirhut division. Champaran was in the Tirhut division. The commissioner scolded Gandhiji. He advised Gandhiji to immediately leave Tirhut.
Gandhi did not leave. Instead he proceeded to Motihari, the capital of Champaran. Several lawyers accompanied him. At the railway station, a vast multitude greeted Gandhi.
|Proceeded to||Went to|
Gandhiji did not leave Tirhut. He went to Motihari. It was the capital of Champaran district. Many lawyers went with him. At railway station of Motihari, a large crowd had come to welcome Gandhiji.
He went to a house and, using it as headquarters, continued his investigations. A report came in that a peasant had been maltreated in a nearby village.
|Maltreated||Beaten or abused|
He stayed in a house in Motihari. That house became his main office. He continued his inquiry to find facts. A report came to him that a peasant had been beaten in a village.
Gandhi decided to go and see; the next morning he started out on the back of an elephant. He had not proceeded far when the police superintendent’s messenger overtook him and ordered him to return to town in his carriage.
Gandhiji decided to meet him. Next morning he started for the village on an elephant. He had gone to a small distance. A messenger of police superintendent came to him. He ordered Gandhiji to return to Motihari in his vehicle.
Gandhi complied. The messenger drove Gandhi home where he served him with an official notice to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice and wrote on it that he would disobey the order.
Gandhiji obeyed his orders. He came back to Motihari in the vehicle of the messenger. The messenger gave a written order to Gandhiji. The order asked Gandhiji to leave Champaran district immediately. Gandhiji wrote on the copy of the order that he would not obey the order. Signed it and gave to the messenger.
In consequence, Gandhi received a summons to appear in court the next day.
|Summons||Order from court|
As result of disobeying, Gandhiji was ordered to come to the court next day.
All night Gandhi remained awake. He telegraphed Rajendra Prasad to come from Bihar with influential friends. He sent instructions to the ashram. He wired a full report to the Viceroy.
|Viceroy||Highest officer in India during British time|
Gandhiji did not sleep that night. He gave telegram to Rajendra Prasad. Gandhiji requested him to come to Motihari with his prominent friends. Gandhiji sent some instruction to his ashram. He sent a report to the Viceroy through telegram.
Morning found the town of Motihari black with peasants. They did not know Gandhi’s record in South Africa.
In the morning large number of peasant had reached Motihari. (In the town everywhere one could see people. Since their hair were black, the town looked filled with black colour). The peasants did not know what Gandhiji had done in South Africa.
They had merely heard that a Mahatma who wanted to help them was in trouble with the authorities. Their spontaneous demonstration, in thousands, around the courthouse was the beginning of their liberation from fear of the British.
|Heard||Came to know|
The peasants had come to know that a Mahatma had come to Motihari. He wanted to help them. But the officers were troubling him. The immediate arrival of peasants in large number was the starting point for their freedom from fear of British.
The officials felt powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation. He helped them regulate the crowd. He was polite and friendly. He was giving them concrete proof that their might, hitherto dreaded and unquestioned, could be challenged by Indians.
|Concrete proof||Solid proof|
|Hitherto||Till this time|
It was difficult for officers to control the crowd. So they requested help of Gandhiji. He helped officials in controlling the crowd. He remained polite and friendly. Till that time everybody feared the authority of British. Their authority was certain and accepted by everyone without any doubt. Gandhiji gave British officials solid proof that their authority could be challenged by Indians.
The government was baffled. The prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial. Apparently, the authorities wished to consult their superiors.
|Prosecutor||Lawyer of govt.|
The government was confused. Lawyer of the government requested the judge to postpone the case. It seemed like authorities wanted to take advice of their officers.
Gandhi protested against the delay. He read a statement pleading guilty.
Gandhiji objected for delaying the case. He gave a statement in the court saying that he was at fault.
He was involved, he told the court, in a “conflict of duties”— on the one hand, not to set a bad example as a lawbreaker; on the other hand, to render the “humanitarian and national service” for which he had come.
|Conflict of duties||Duties opposite to each other|
|Humanitarian||As a human being|
Gandhiji told the court he had two opposite duties to fulfil. The first duty was to obey the law. He did not want to break the law and set a bad example. The second duty was to perform service to human beings and to his nation. He had come to Champaran for this duty.
He disregarded the order to leave, “not for want of respect for lawful authority, but in obedience to the higher law of our being, the voice of conscience”. He asked the penalty due.
|Not for want of respect||Not to insult|
|Conscience||Inner voice of self|
He did not want to insult the lawful authority by disobeying order to leave Champaran. But he was obeying his inner voice, which is a much higher law. He requested the court to punish him.
The magistrate announced that he would pronounce sentence after a two-hour recess and asked Gandhi to furnish bail for those 120 minutes. Gandhi refused. The judge released him without bail.
The magistrate announced that he will declare the punishment after a break of two hours. He asked Gandhiji to submit a bail for the time of recess. Gandhiji declined to submit the bail. And judge released him without bail for the duration of two hours.
When the court reconvened, the judge said he would not deliver the judgment for several days. Meanwhile he allowed Gandhi to remain at liberty.
When the court restarted, the judge did not give his judgement. He said that he would give judgement after many day. He allowed Gandhiji to remain free till that time.
Rajendra Prasad, Brij Kishor Babu, Maulana Mazharul Huq and several other prominent lawyers had arrived from Bihar. They conferred with Gandhi. What would they do if he was sentenced to prison, Gandhi asked. Why, the senior lawyer replied, they had come to advise and help him; if he went to jail there would be nobody to advise and they would go home.
Many influential lawyers had come from Bihar. Gandhiji had a discussion with them. Gandhiji asked them what they would do if he were sent to jail. They replied that they had come to help Gandhiji. If Gandhiji went to jail, they would go to their homes.
What about the injustice to the sharecroppers, Gandhi demanded. The lawyers withdrew to consult.
Gandhiji asked them what they would do about the injustice to the sharecroppers. All the lawyers separately had a discussion among themselves.
Rajendra Prasad has recorded the upshot of their consultations — “They thought, amongst themselves, that Gandhi was totally a stranger, and yet he was prepared to go to prison for the sake of the peasants; if they, on the other hand, being not only residents of the adjoining districts but also those who claimed to have served these peasants, should go home, it would be shameful desertion.”
|For the sake of||For the benefit of|
Rajendra Prasad has recorded the conclusion of their discussions. They thought that Gandhiji was ready to go to prison for the benefit of farmers though he had come from outside. While they all were from nearby districts. They were also claiming that they were helping the farmers. In this situation if they went home, it would be a shame on them and they would be deceiving farmers.
They accordingly went back to Gandhi and told him they were ready to follow him into jail. ‘‘The battle of Champaran is won,’’ he exclaimed.
After their discussion, they went to Gandhiji. They told him that they were ready to go to the jail with him. Gandhiji then expressed that that battle of Champaran was won.
Then he took a piece of paper and divided the group into pairs and put down the order in which each pair was to court arrest.
|Court arrest||Voluntarily get arrested in court|
Then Gandhiji made groups of them. He wrote their names group wise on the paper. He made a sequence of the groups in which they will ask court to arrest them.
Several days later, Gandhi received a written communication from the magistrate informing him that the Lieutenant-Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped. Civil disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.
|Lieutenant Governor||An officer of British era|
|Case to be dropped||Withdraw, take back or close the case|
After many days Gandhiji received a letter from the judge. It informed him that the Lieutenant Governor had given orders to close the case. This was the first victory of Civil Disobedience in modern India.
Gandhi and the lawyers now proceeded to conduct a far-flung inquiry into the grievances of the farmers. Depositions by about ten thousand peasants were written down, and notes made on other evidence.
|Far flung||Detailed, In detail|
Gandhiji and lawyers continued their detailed inquiry about complaints of farmers. They wrote written statements of about ten thousand farmers. They made their own notes about other proofs.
Documents were collected. The whole area throbbed with the activity of the investigators and the vehement protests of the landlords.
They collected many documents. The whole area was full of activities of investigators. There were strong opposition from landlords.
In June, Gandhi was summoned to Sir Edward Gait, the Lieutenant-Governor. Before he went he met leading associates and again laid detailed plans for civil disobedience if he should not return.
|Leading associates||Main colleagues|
Sir Edward Gait was the Lieutenant Governor. He called Gandhiji to his office. Before going to meet him, Gandhiji met his main colleagues. Gandhiji made a detailed plan about what they should do if he was arrested. It was another round of civil disobedience.
Gandhi had four protracted interviews with the Lieutenant- Governor who, as a result, appointed an official commission of inquiry into the indigo sharecroppers’ situation. The commission consisted of landlords, government officials, and Gandhi as the sole representative of the peasants.
Gandhiji had four lengthy discussion with Lieutenant Governor. The LG appointed a commission to conduct an inquiry about situation of sharecroppers. Members of the commission were landlords, government officials and Gandhiji. Only one representative from the side of farmers was Gandhiji.
Gandhi remained in Champaran for an initial uninterrupted period of seven months and then again for several shorter visits.
|Uninterrupted||Continuous, Witout break|
Gandhiji initially stayed in Champaran continuously for seven months. After that he visited Champaran many times for shorter duration.
The visit, undertaken casually on the entreaty of an unlettered peasant in the expectation that it would last a few days, occupied almost a year of Gandhi’s life.
|Casually||Informally, Without commitment|
The first visit of Gandhiji was on the request of an uneducated farmer. Gandhiji had not committed anything to the farmer. He had made that visit informally. He had expected that the visit would be for some days. But it engaged him for about a year.
The official inquiry assembled a crushing mountain of evidence against the big planters, and when they saw this they agreed, in principle, to make refunds to the peasants. “But how much must we pay?” they asked Gandhi.
|Crushing mountain||Very large|
The enquiry commission gathered large amount of proofs. These proofs were against the landlords. When landlords saw these proofs, they agreed to return money to farmers. They asked Gandhiji that how much money they should return.
They thought he would demand repayment in full of the money which they had illegally and deceitfully extorted from the sharecroppers. He asked only 50 per cent.
|Illegally||Without any law|
|Deceitfully||Wrongly, By cheating|
|Extorted||Forcefully taken, Extracted|
Landlords thought that Gandhiji would demand to refund the total amount. This amount they had forcefully taken without any law by cheating sharecroppers. But Gandhiji asked to refund only half of the amount.
“There he seemed adamant,” writes Reverend J. Z. Hodge, a British missionary in Champaran who observed the entire episode at close range.
|Reverend||A title of a priest|
|Missionary||Person who preaches Christianity|
|Close range||In detail, From very near|
Reverend J.Z. Hodge was a person living in Champaran for preaching Christianity. He was observing the full incident in details. He had written that Gandhiji appeared rigid about refund of 50 percent of the amount.
“Thinking probably that he would not give way, the representative of the planters offered to refund to the extent of 25 per cent, and to his amazement Mr. Gandhi took him at his word, thus breaking the deadlock.”
|Took him at his words||Accept|
Representative of landlords offered to refund 25% of the amount. He probably thought that Gandhiji would not agree to this small refund. But to his surprise, Gandhiji accepted the offer. Thus the disagreement was removed.
This settlement was adopted unanimously by the commission. Gandhi explained that the amount of the refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been obliged to surrender part of the money and, with it, part of their prestige.
|Obliged||Forced to agree|
The agreement was accepted by every member of the commission. Gandhiji explained that through this agreement, landlords were forced give some money and their prestige. According to him this was more important that the amount of refund.
Therefore, as far as the peasants were concerned, the planters had behaved as lords above the law. Now the peasant saw that he had rights and defenders. He learned courage.
Earlier farmers were convinced that landlords were behaving as if they were above the law. [Meaning that whatever they said was the law. No action could be taken against them.] Now peasants understood that they also had rights. They also had a person who would protect them. The peasants now became courageous.
Events justified Gandhi’s position. Within a few years the British planters abandoned their estates, which reverted to the peasants. Indigo sharecropping disappeared.
The future events proved that the opinion of Gandhiji was correct. Within some years, the British landlords left their land. Thus the peasants became owner of their land. The sharecropping did not exist now.
Gandhi never contented himself with large political or economic solutions. He saw the cultural and social backwardness in the Champaran villages and wanted to do something about it immediately.
|Contented||Wanted, Thought of|
Gandhiji never wanted to win a big political and financial solution of the situation. He understood the backwardness of the society of Champaran. He wanted to improve it immediately.
He appealed for teachers. Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh, two young men who had just joined Gandhi as disciples, and their wives, volunteered for the work. Several more came from Bombay, Poona and other distant parts of the land.
|Volunteered||Offered to do without fees|
He requested teachers to come to Champaran. Mahadev Desai and Nrahari Parikh and their wives came to Champaran. They were followers of Gandhiji. They agreed to do the work without taking any fees. Many more people came from other far parts of the country like Bombay and Poona.
Devadas, Gandhi’s youngest son, arrived from the ashram and so did Mrs. Gandhi. Primary schools were opened in six villages. Kasturbai taught the ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community sanitation.
Gandhiji’s youngest son Devadas came from the ashram. Wife of Gandhiji also came. They opened primary schools in six villages. Kasturbai, wife of Gandhiji, taught them about personal cleanliness and how to keep society clean.
Health conditions were miserable. Gandhi got a doctor to volunteer his services for six months. Three medicines were available — castor oil, quinine and sulphur ointment.
|Miserable||Very bad, Horrible|
Health of people of Champaran was very bad. Gandhiji requested doctors to help residents without any fees. Three medicines were arranged — castor oil, quinine and sulphur ointment.
Anybody who showed a coated tongue was given a dose of castor oil; anybody with malaria fever received quinine plus castor oil; anybody with skin eruptions received ointment plus castor oil.
Anyone whose tongue was of bad colour, was given one type of medicine (castor oil). Those who had malaria were given another set of medicines (quinine and castor oil). Those who had boils on their skin or had other skin problems were given another set of medicines (sulphur ointment and castor oil).
Gandhi noticed the filthy state of women’s clothes. He asked Kasturbai to talk to them about it. One woman took Kasturbai into her hut and said, ‘‘Look, there is no box or cupboard here for clothes. The sari I am wearing is the only one I have.”
|Filthy||Very dirty, Very bad|
Gandhiji observed that condition of women’s clothes was very bad. He requested his wife to talk to women about it and do something. One woman told Kasturbai that she did not have any almiraha or box at his hut. She had only one sari which she was wearing.
During his long stay in Champaran, Gandhi kept a long distance watch on the ashram. He sent regular instructions by mail and asked for financial accounts.
|Watch on ashram||Take care of ashram|
|Financial accounts||Details of expenses and money received|
When Gandhiji stayed at Champaran for long duration he was far from his ashram. Still he was taking care of his ashram also. Regularly he sent his instructions through letters. He also asked them to give details of expenses and money received.
Once he wrote to the residents that it was time to fill in the old latrine trenches and dig new ones otherwise the old ones would begin to smell bad.
Once, through a letter Gandhiji had asked those living in the ashram to fill the old pit of latrine and to make new pits. He wrote that otherwise the old pits would start giving bad smell.
The Champaran episode was a turning-point in Gandhi’s life. ‘‘What I did,” he explained, “was a very ordinary thing. I declared that the British could not order me about in my own country.”
|Turning point||Important change|
The event of Champaran was an important change in the life of Gandhiji. He told that he did very simple thing. He declared to the British that they could not order him in his own country.
But Champaran did not begin as an act of defiance. It grew out of an attempt to alleviate the distress of large numbers of poor peasants.
The events of Champaran were not started as a disobedience or opposition. These were the attempts to reduce the pain and suffering of poor farmers.
This was the typical Gandhi pattern — his politics were intertwined with the practical, day-to-day problems of the millions. His was not a loyalty to abstractions; it was a loyalty to living, human beings.
This was the regular working method of Gandhiji. Daily practical problems of millions of people were included in his politics. He was not devoted to unreal situations. He was devoted to improving living conditions of human beings.
In everything Gandhi did, moreover, he tried to mould a new free Indian who could stand on his own feet and thus make India free.
Gandhiji tried to make India a new free India. An India that was self-sufficient and hence truly a free country.
Early in the Champaran action, Charles Freer Andrews, the English pacifist who had become a devoted follower of the Mahatma, came to bid Gandhi farewell before going on a tour of duty to the Fiji Islands.
|the English||British, Of England|
|Pacifist||Believer in non-violence|
|Bid farewell||To say goodbye|
|Tour of duty||Official work, Official duty|
Charles Freer Andrew was a strong follower of Gandhiji. He was a British. He did not believe in violence. He was going to Fiji islands for official duty. He came to Champaran to say good bye to Gandhiji.
Gandhi’s lawyer friends thought it would be a good idea for Andrews to stay in Champaran and help them. Andrews was willing if Gandhi agreed. But Gandhi was vehemently opposed.
Some of friends of Gandhiji were lawyers. They thought that it would be beneficial if Andrews helped them. Andrews was ready if Gandhiji agreed. But Gandhiji strongly objected to this proposal.
He said, ‘‘You think that in this unequal fight it would be helpful if we have an Englishman on our side. This shows the weakness of your heart. The cause is just and you must rely upon yourselves to win the battle. You should not seek a prop in Mr. Andrews because he happens to be an Englishman’’.
He asked them if they thought that in the fight among unequal, having an Englishman would be useful. He said that it was weakness of their mental strength. The reason of the fight is true. Therefore we must depend on ourselves to win it. We should not seek support of Mr Andrew because he is a British.
‘‘He had read our minds correctly,’’ Rajendra Prasad comments, “and we had no reply… Gandhi in this way taught us a lesson in self-reliance’’.
|Read our thoughts||Understood our feelings|
Rajendra Prasad said that Gandhiji had understood their thoughts and feelings correctly. We could not reply to Gandhiji. He had taught us to depend on our own abilities.
Self-reliance, Indian independence and help to sharecroppers were all bound together.
In the method adopted by Gandhiji, all the three factors self-reliance, Indian independence and help to sharecroppers were included.